Pursuing Financial Compensation After a Hit and Run Accident
When a negligent driver abandons the scene of a car accident before providing their contact information and insurance details to the person they hit, it is only natural for injured accident victims to feel a combination of shock and outrage. In addition to engaging in negligent behaviour behind the wheel and causing a collision, by failing to remain at the scene of an accident, hit and run drivers exhibit a blatant disregard for the people they may have injured or killed in the collision.
Regardless of which driver was responsible for causing a motor vehicle collision, all parties involved in an accident have a legal obligation to remain at the scene. Ontario’s Highway Traffic Act outlines the penalties for hit and run drivers. If apprehended by law enforcement, drivers who flee the scene of a collision can receive seven demerit points, which will remain on their driving record for two years from the date of their conviction.
Failing to stop after being involved in an accident with another vehicle is a hybrid offence. That means its penalties are also determined in accordance with the Criminal Code of Canada. If convicted under the Criminal Code, depending on their past offenses, hit and run drivers face license revocation, and may lose the privilege of obtaining a license in the future. If convicted, penalties can also include fines of up to $2,000, and even incarceration.
The province’s Insurance Act requires all drivers in Ontario to provide a reasonable duty of care to other road-users. Failing to provide a reasonable duty of care to other drivers could be considered negligence. If you have been injured as a result of another driver’s negligence and have suffered financial losses as a result, an Ontario car accident lawyer may be able to help you file a claim for damages.
However, in order to pursue financial compensation, you must first make reasonable efforts to identify the owner/operator of the vehicle that caused the accident. This being the case, victims of hit and run drivers often feel powerless about their situations, and confused about where to go to find accountability.
If you can successfully identify the driver who caused your collision and fled the crash site, an Ontario car accident lawyer may be able to help you recover costs for damages you incurred. These costs might include:
- Medical expenses
- Rehabilitation costs
- Ongoing medical care/in-home care
- Lost wages
- Loss of future earning capacity
- Adjusted living expenses
- Pain and suffering
- And possibly more
Common Injuries Caused by Hit and Run Drivers
Motor vehicle accidents can be fatal. Negligent drivers who strike another vehicle and fail to stop at the accident scene may, in fact, be leaving the operators and passengers of the vehicle they hit for dead. These drivers flee the scene of a collision they caused with no concern for the condition of the other people who may have been seriously affected by their negligence.
Being struck by a driver who runs away from the accident scene can also result in serious injuries. Some common injuries resulting from car accidents include:
- Neck injuries
- Broken or fractured bones
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBI)
- Internal bleeding and organ damage
- Spinal cord injuries (SCI)
- And more
Sustaining a serious injury in a motor vehicle collision can cause an accident victim to suffer physical, emotional, and financial hardships. In Ontario, regardless of who is at fault for the collision, drivers involved in car accidents may be entitled to statutory accident benefits. However, depending on the severity of the injuries they have sustained, the benefits to which an accident victim may be entitled will likely not cover the total amount of financial losses they have incurred.
If an injured driver is able to uncover the identity of the negligent driver who fled the scene of their accident, they may be able to pursue additional damages through their own insurance company. A car accident lawyer can help navigate this process.
Steps to Take at the Scene of the Hit and Run Accident
After a traumatic event like a car accident, a driver or passenger’s body may go into shock. In this state, bodies often produce adrenaline, which can diminish or delay the symptoms of a serious injury. That is why, if you have been involved in a motor vehicle collision, before doing anything else, it is important to call 911 and notify the police of the crime that has taken place.
Once dispatched to the crash scene, emergency services may suggest taking you to the hospital for immediate medical examination. Even if you do not feel as though you have been badly injured, by seeking emergency medical care, you may be able to properly identify the severity of your condition and avoid future complications in your recovery process.
In addition to calling emergency services immediately, taking some actions at the scene of the accident may help you pursue legal action against the at-fault driver in the future. If it is safe to do so, consider taking the following actions:
- Record the names and contact information of any eyewitnesses
- Take photos of the damage to your vehicle, including any remnants or paint marks from the other driver’s car
- Write down as many details about the offending driver’s vehicle and physical appearance while they are fresh in your mind
- Provide a thorough account of the accident to law enforcement officers
Drivers may wish to take extra precautions against hit and run drivers by installing a dash cam in their vehicle. Dash cams act as an impartial witness by keeping an indisputable video record of other drivers’ negligent behaviour on the road. Most devices are designed to automatically record video from the moment the car’s engine is ignited. That means if your accident with a hit and run driver occurred while your vehicle was in motion, a dash cam might have captured the other vehicle’s license plate number or a clear image of the offending driver, both of which can be presented to the police investigating your accident.
In addition, many dash cams are equipped with motion sensors that trigger the device to begin recording when it detects movement nearby. If your injuries were caused by a driver who collided with your vehicle while you were parked, video evidence recorded by your dash cam may help track down the driver who failed to remain at the accident scene.
When Hit and Run Drivers Cause Wrongful Deaths
Hit and run drivers often leave casualties lying in the street, unaware of whether their negligence has caused a family to lose a loved one. The callousness of failing to remain at the scene of an accident can be truly difficult to comprehend. This is especially true when drivers fail to stop at the scene of a pedestrian accident. In fact, more than a quarter of recent Toronto pedestrian fatalities were caused by drivers who did not remain at the accident scene.
The premature loss of a loved one is never easy to withstand. No amount of money can fully compensate you for the loss of a family member who died as the result of another person’s negligence. However, if their death caused you to incur financial losses, you may be eligible to receive financial compensation from the at-fault driver.
If the actions of a hit and run driver caused you to lose a child, grandchild, spouse, sibling, parent, or grandparent, an Ontario wrongful death lawyer may be able to help you recover significant compensation.
Some forms of compensation a wrongful death lawyer may be able to help you recover include:
- Funeral and burial costs
- Medical costs prior to your loved one’s death
- Travel costs for out-of-town family members to visit your relative prior to their death
- Loss of care, guidance, or companionship
- Loss of future earnings anticipated over your relative’s lifetime
- Loss of housekeeping services normally performed by your deceased relative
- Loss of caregiving services normally performed by your deceased relative
- And possibly more, if eligible
Contact Preszler Injury Lawyers if You Have Been Injured by a Hit and Run Driver
If you were injured in an accident caused by another driver who failed to stop at the collision scene, you may be eligible to recover financial compensation for damages you incurred. If the hit and run driver’s actions led to the wrongful death of a close relative, an Ontario lawyer may be able to help you seek accountability and financial compensation.